Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Senator Wants TSA To Conduct 'Independent' Scanner

OverTheGeicoE (1743174) writes | more than 2 years ago

Security 1

OverTheGeicoE (1743174) writes "US Senator Susan Collins, the top Republican on the homeland security committee, plans to introduce a bill that would require a new health study of the X-ray body scanners used to screen airline passengers nationwide. If the bill becomes law, TSA would be required to choose an 'independent laboratory' to measure the radiation emitted by a scanner currently in use at an airport checkpoint and use the data to produce a peer-reviewed study, to be submitted to Congress, based on its findings. The study would also evaluate the safety mechanisms on the machine and determine 'whether there are any biological signs of cellular damage caused by the scans.' Many Slashdotters are or have been involved in science. Is this a credible experimental protocol? Is it reasonable to expect an organization accused of jeopardizing the health and safety of hundreds of millions of air travelers to pick a truly unbiased lab? Would any lab chosen deliver a critical report and risk future funding? Should the public trust a study of radiology and human health designed by a US Senator whose highest degree is a bachelor's degree in government?"
Link to Original Source

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

X-rays are not trivial (1)

Muondecay (1841250) | more than 2 years ago | (#38865689)

Ask and ye shall receive, as I am an X-ray scientist with a physics background and I've written comments on this before. I work with material analyzers, primarily ultra-portable XRF and XRD devices used for a variety of applications. All our devices have warning labels and prompts for a reason. X-rays should not be taken as lightly as they are. Previous independent studies and tests used techniques used primarily of direct source X-rays. Those same studies themselves admitted that no acceptable method for quantifying backscatter X-ray absorption exits at present, and there are very valid fears that the tests that were use do not quantify skin absorption very well. So more investigation is certainly merited and some new science could come out of this.

Also, while yes the senator did create the "plan" for this, she is essentially doing what politicians always do in these situations: take the credit for something they authorize funding for. Make no mistake, its the actual labs themselves which will devise the test protocols (as should always be the case).

I'll finish this with something I wrote before:

"Research indicates that enough data of exposed population exists to show that there is no safe dose, no safe-dose rate, nor a safe dose threshold..." - Wolfgang Koehnlein, Direktor of the Institue for Radiation Biology, University of Munster, Germany

In other words, every single high-energy photon that hits you has a chance to cause damage to cell structure or DNA that leads to cancer. These devices WILL increase cancer risk., without question. Yes, it is a small amount, but it is an amount. Safety limits exist to account for REASONABLE exposure, due to necessity (medical reasons primarily) or unavoidable exposure due to voluntary actions (job hazzard, etc.). The TSA and DHS may argue that the risk is low, but it is still a risk, and an unnecessary one at that.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?